Thursday, 28 February 2013

Puckman Pockimon Genie 2000

Yes.

"Puckman Pockimon Genie 2000", thirteen-year-old unlicensed arcade tat from the far east, here to make your day that extra bit less pleasant. You got your Pokémon in my Pac-Man etc., and a worldwide culling of brain cells commenced.

Credit goes to Techokami for tracking this one down.

There's a common misconception amongst Pokémon fans that the franchise is still prevalent in our day-to-day lives. Obviously it's a series which continues to see meaningless sequels so in that sense, yes, Game Freak's creation is still a feature, but no longer is the general public bombarded with legions of knock-off Pikachus like they were in 1999. Once upon a time, everything claimed to originate from a red and white ball - today Asia takes design cues from Angry Birds for all its copyright infringement needs, so Pikachu? More like Pika...who?..

It may be refreshing to witness the misuse of the Pokémon franchise again if you've lived a normal life, but having sat through a decade of knock-off Pokémon encounters, I'm forced to take an alternative view. Eagle-eyed readers will also note that I once covered the existence of the poorly titled "Pokémon 4-in-1" unlicensed Famicom cartridge, another example of Pikachu's disembodied head being forced into a life of dot eating. Pac-Man-Pokémon crossovers turning up more than once? Worrying!

Anyway if you can get past the appalling name, Puckman Pockimon Genie 2000 is effectively a re-skinned variant of the 1982 Midway classic, Ms. Pac-Man (complete with stolen sound effects). It makes a few pointless alterations, most predominantly support for a second player (player one is Pac-Man, player two, Pikachu), but anybody who has played a video game during the last thirty years will be accustomed to what's on offer here. "PPG2K" substitutes some of the wrapping tunnels for teleporters as well as introducing a few boring powerups, but nothing on display is unique or memorable. Even the arcade board stems from Mega Drive hardware - no expenses spared!

Noticeably less responsive controls complete with ugly graphics means as a package, Puckman Pockimon Genie 2000 can't hope to place above its mentor, but there are plenty of levels to keep arcade goers occupied and at least we can class it as playable. The score maxes out at 500,000 despite the space for seven-digit numbers, and although there's no justifiable reason to favour this over a Pac-Man thoroughbred, it's more accurate than most.

The "Pokémon" side to Puckman Pockimon Genie 2000 stems little further than the existence of Pikachu, but compensation comes in the form of low-quality pictures of Asian women gawk at after a round is finished. No breasts mind you, just the faces of ladies you don't know - a perfect fit for unsupervised children in public arcades!

Still, though a completely redundant and stupid arcade game, most flavours of (classic) Pac-Man, no matter how butchered, can continue to entertain regardless of subject matter. Puckman Pockimon Genie 2000 is obviously not one to recommend, but if you can get past the shoddy build quality, there's no reason to actively avoid it either.

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